Perdition: (noun) A state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death.
I’m not dead– not yet– but maybe this is where I am, perdition.
After all, I’m unrepentant. I refuse to acknowledge that I have a problem. Did I have a problem in the past? Probably. But that past is not the present. And now, with the clarity of five clean months, I think not. My bender days are long over. DXM is a greedy little thing of my past. I’ve even bid adieu to my good friend Mary Jane. And morphine is no more than a dream from another time, another era, another me. A me that I’ve buried.
I’m a new me. A clean me. A me who gets up in the morning, who goes to work, and who comes home at night. And that’s it. But the ghosts of my past haunt me in the most inconvenient and cumbersome of ways.
Maybe it’s because I’m unpenitent. I refuse to call myself an addict. I won’t look back on my drug doing days with shame and ugly remorse. Sometimes I miss them. But most of the time, I just accept that those days as part of my past. Those days aren’t a part of my present.
Maybe it’s because I’m sinful. And I’ve certainly been sinful. After all, it’s nearly impossible to manage a 48 hour ecstasy bender without engaging in some kind of sin. And sure, I broke the law. And I had fun doing it. But ‘had’ is the operative word, it signifies the past, not the present. And it’s the present that rules the day.
In spite of this, I feel like I’m in a state of perdition. I can’t catch a break. I’m drowning in the past and the powers that be– the Committee of Bar Examiners– are pushing my head down, deep underwater. They’re holding me down there, down with my past, waiting for the fight to go out of me. Waiting for me to turn blue. Waiting for me to drown.
Maybe I’ve walked this road to perdition. I’ve taken some steps off the straight and narrow– is this where those steps lead?
No, I haven’t walked this road. I haven’t even taken the path less traveled. Because I am not an anomaly, an abomination, an attorney unfit for practice.
I’m a person. A person with resolve. Enough resolve to get off morphine without methadone and a 12 step. A person with enough clarity to realize when the party’s over. A person with enough strength to let go of the past and accept a new present.
I don’t deserve this perdition and I refuse to accept it. I refuse to stop swimming, I refuse to let them push my head under the waters of my past, I refuse to stop screaming. Screaming my truth.
And here’s my truth: I don’t belong here, in some state of eternal damnation. My sin is in the past and I won’t offer penitence for a sin already atoned.
I’m a person.
And I don’t deserve perdition.